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May 12, 2017

Maritime Bureau reports first Somali hijackings after five-year lull

According to the latest ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy report, pirates and armed robbers attacked 43 ships and captured 58 seafarers in the first quarter of 2017, slightly more than the same period last year.

A first in five years, Somali pirates successfully hijacked a small bunkering tanker and a traditional dhow, both within their territorial waters. A total of 28 crew were taken hostage and subsequently released within a relatively short time. IMB suspects that these incidents were opportunistic, particularly as the hijacked vessels were not following the Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy (BMP4) recommendations.

The global report highlights persisting violence in piracy hotspots off Nigeria and around the Southern Philippines - where two crew members were killed in February. Indonesia also reported frequent incidents, mostly low-level thefts from anchored vessels.

In total, 33 vessels were boarded and four fired upon in the first three months of 2017. Armed pirates hijacked two vessels, both off the coast of Somalia, where no merchant ship had been hijacked since May 2012. Four attempted incidents were also received.

Source: IMB